[Editor’s Note: this post was originally published in January 2012, referring to the Holiday Season of 2011.]
Many people consider Thanksgiving Day the day when we as a nation give thanks to God for our blessings, to be the day before the Christmas season begins. Christmas, when we wish others Mele Kalikimaka, is when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, a season of good will towards men.
Well, this past Thanksgiving night (2011)… not quite! Apparently many of us feel that we have not received sufficient blessings this past year, and on Thanksgiving night people left morality at home when they cruised off to the mall for the early Black Friday sales!
- Black Friday was only minutes old when two people suffered minor injuries in a brawl at the Wal-Mart electronics section in Rome, NY.
- At one Los Angeles area Wal-Mart witnesses say that one woman used pepper spray to clear her way to the XBOX’s causing twenty people to have to be treated at the scene for eye irritation or bruising.
- In Milford, CT, police used a taser on a Wal-Mart shopper who allegedly attacked a child.
- In the same area someone mugged a 65-year-old woman as she was leaving an Old Navy store.
- Police twice used a stun gun on an allegedly drunk man in a Wal-Mart in Florence, Ala.
- In Fayetteville, NC, gun shots were fired at a mall as shoppers arrived for early morning sales.
- In Augusta, GA, a Marine helping out with a “Toys for Tots” drive was stabbed while attempting to stop a shoplifter.
- In Buffalo, NY, at least one shopper was hospitalized from injuries suffered in a shopping stampede at Target.
- In Boynton Beach, Fla., a man was arrested carrying a gun, knives and a pepper grenade while in line at Wal-Mart; apparently ordinary Black Friday attire.
- In Toledo, OR, police responded to three separate reports of fighting at a Wal-Mart on Thursday night, in one case over towels selling for $1.88.
- Two men fought at a Wal-Mart jewelry counter in Kissimmee, Fla.
- And apparently disappointed that it wasn’t open, looters broke into Hollister’s flagship store in New York City about 1:15 a.m. to help themselves.
So why do people act this way? Partly, the sheer size of the mob offers the individual anonymity, affording them the opportunity to shed any morality which restrains their narcissistic self-centeredness. Such behavior as we saw last week makes clear to me that for some morality is no more than clothing to be shed when the passions become too hot!
All of this made me wonder if there was the same kind of bad behavior manifested in Hawaiʻi on that day? My heart is saddened to think that even in the “Land of Aloha” there probably was the same bad, disrespectful behavior. If there were examples of such incivility in Hawaiʻi that day then that is the degree to which Hawaiʻi’s aloha and respectfulness have been poisoned by Western commercialism’s gospel of Self.
Which means that once again the businessmen have won and the kanaka have lost!
Mele Kalikimaka, indeed!